How to clean a leather collar and lead
Leather is actually very similar to human skin. Even the leather of a collar or lead needs to breathe. At the same time, it must be sufficiently moisturised to avoid drying and cracking. The following instructions are generally suitable for cleaning smooth leather – coats, saddles, sofas and flat shoes.
During cleaning, the skin takes on a darker shade for some time, so if you are going to clean anything made of very light leather, you should purchase some special products for it. Today I am going to clean a lead.
You will need:
- bar of glycerine soap or any gentle Dove-type soap
- linseed oil or olive oil
- soft brush
1. Surface cleaning
Gently brush the lead and remove the coarse dirt. There is more work with shoes, probably less with a sofa :-)
2. In-depth cleaning
Now comes the careful work. Moisten the cloth and rub some soap on in. With circular motions, clean every centimetre of the leather so that the soap gently makes foam and soaks into the leather. The aim is to remove the dirt from the leather pores and thereby to do a really thorough cleaning.
3. Oil care
Once you have finished cleaning with soap, let the lead dry. Then take a dry cloth and dip one end of it in the oil. Again with circular motions, try to rub the oil gently into the leather so that it penetrates as deeply as possible. Take care in performing this task and don’t forget about the lead handle, which is usually the most damaged. If the leather is sufficiently saturated with oil in one spot, wipe the excess oil remaining on the surface with a dry cloth to prevent surrounding dirt sticking to it.
How to cope with stains
If there are stains on the leather, there are several ways of reducing their visibility. Always first try to clean the leather according to the basic instructions mentioned above; only then try other preparations or the following tricks:
- Spray hair lacquer on the stain and then polish the leather. Alternatively, moisten a cotton pad in rubbing alcohol and try to remove the stain with it.
- A mixture of road salt mixed with 50 % water and 50 % vinegar is a relatively aggressive cleaner that you can try using with the cloth.
- Dark stains on light leather: mix 1:1 lemon juice and baking powder containing wine stone (= phosphate-free baking powder, available in DM drug stores). Gently rub the mixture into the leather and allow it to act for 10 minutes; then wipe with a damp sponge.
Good luck! Cleaning leather is a very delicate task, but the result is worth it. Your lead, collar or flat shoes will look like new :-)
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From the Slade Czech Saddlers' Workshop